Takshashilā ［徳叉尸羅］ (; Tokushashira): A city in ancient India. In Greek literature, Takshashilā is rendered as Taxila. It was located about thirty-five kilometers northwest of present-day Rawalpindi in Pakistan. Takshashilā prospered for about ten centuries, beginning in the sixth century b.c.e., largely due to its location at what was then an intersection of important trade routes connecting India to Central and Western Asia. The city was also a center of learning in northern India. In 326 b.c.e. Takshashilā was conquered by Alexander the Great, and in the third century b.c.e. it fell under the rule of the Maurya dynasty. King Ashoka is said to have governed Takshashilā while a prince, during which time Buddhism was introduced to this region. Afterward Takshashilā passed successively from rule by the Indo-Greek kingdom of Bactria to that by the Shakas of Central Asia, and then to the Parthians and later to the Kushan dynasty. Under Kushan rule from the first through the third century, Buddhist culture thrived, and numerous stupas, temples, and monasteries were built. Takshashilā became a great center of Buddhism where Gandhara Buddhist art flourished. In the early fifth century Fa-hsien visited the city and in the record of his travels described its people, including the rulers, as making offerings to Buddhist stupas. Later in the same century, the Hephthalites invaded and destroyed the city. Hsüan-tsang wrote that, when he visited the region in the seventh century, Takshashilā lay in ruins. Archaeological excavations began in the nineteenth century and continued into the twentieth century. They revealed the ruins of the ancient city and the remains of its Buddhist architecture and art, including numerous objects of the Gandhara artistic style. Among the relics uncovered at the site of Takshashilā are dozens of Buddhist temples, the oldest and largest of which is Dharmarājika. The great Dharmarājika stupa is at the center of the temple compound. Although the stupa had been rebuilt at some point, its origin dates back to the Mauryan Empire.